At the risk of sounding like a real pervert, I must admit that I am a big fan of rape/revenge films. I’ve seen a bunch of them, from the classic I Spit on Your Grave to made-for-TV flicks like Big Driver. Some of them are more brutal than others, but I always enjoy seeing the carnage that unfolds as the victims take vengeance on the deserving predators. One film from the revenge sub-genre that I never even knew existed, but now am a big fan of, is Robert Young’s Extremities.
Marjorie (Farrah Fawcett) manages to narrowly escape a rapist, but leaves her purse behind, inadvertently allowing the perpetrator to learn her address and personal information about her and her roommates. Shaken up by the incident, Marjorie is home alone after the girls head out for the day, only to be revisited by the same man who attacked her the first time. He has come to finish the job, but Marjorie has different plans.
I have seen some pretty brutal stuff in these rape/revenge flicks; From mutilated genitals to shotguns in the anus, everything has been done by victims seeking revenge on the scum that so brutally attacked them. With that said, I have never been so uncomfortable when viewing one of these depraved films. Although it is nowhere near as explicit as others I’ve sat through, Extremities succeeds in making an intense situation feel so damn real. The authenticity is due in part to superb writing, but also to some amazing performances by the films stars, namely Farrah Fawcett and James Russo.
From the moment James Russo, as Joe, enters the home of Farrah Fawcett’s Marjorie, I felt uneasy. I already knew this guy was a very bad person, but Russo did an outstanding job at letting the audience know just how vile he actually was. He was menacing and creepy and suave all at the same time, making for an extremely effective villain. Fawcett’s portrayal of Marjorie was a perfect match for Russo’s Joe and the two on screen worked amazingly together.
The tense situation between predator and prey leads to a much more realistic outcome with Marjorie utilizing her surroundings to bring her attacker to his knees. I don’t want to give too much away, but there is no need for tying a guy to a tree only to have crows peck his eyes out in this flick, folks.
Extremities managed to keep my attention from start to finish without any hiccups. The new Blu-ray release of the film brought to fans by Olive Films looks and sounds fantastic, doing the film the proper justice that it deserves. If you’re a fan of revenge flicks, you will not want to miss this 1986 hidden gem. Pick up your copy from Olive Films today!
I give this film 4 pans of scolding butter out of 5.